In the state of West Virginia, a marital estate is divided in an equitable fashion when a relationship comes to an end. This means that your spouse may receive an ownership stake in a residential home, rental property or parcel of land in a final divorce settlement. However, there are steps that you may be able to take to retain control of your real estate portfolio.
Include real property in a prenuptial agreement
A prenuptial agreement can be used to outline the terms of a high-asset divorce before you actually marry your spouse. In many ways, it can be thought of as a custom marriage contract that a court will likely enforce assuming that it was structured properly. If you don’t have time to craft an agreement prior to the start of your marriage, it may be possible to create a postnuptial contract instead.
Place real property in a trust
Placing real property in a revocable trust may make it possible to keep it out of your spouse’s reach. Of course, it’s important that the trust is created well before divorce proceedings begin to ensure that it won’t be invalidated by a judge. Placing assets in a trust may also make them easier to transfer in the event of your death. Finally, using this type of tool may also reduce the amount of estate tax paid to the government.
Generally speaking, a prenuptial agreement or a trust can be created without the need for outside assistance. For these types of documents to be valid, they may need to be notarized. Alternatively, you may be able to add the signatures of witnesses who don’t stand to gain from the end of your marriage.